On Saturday afternoon on the Mall, passersby watched as a mother duck and her offspring paddled in a series of man-made pools outside the National Museum of the American Indian. The five ducklings died when they were pulled into a drain, even as guards and maintenance workers rushed to save them.
It was not the first time. A museum spokeswoman said ducklings have died in the fountain machinery four or five times since the museum opened in September 2004. In the latest case, equipment installed to protect wildlife appeared to have failed, she said.